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Creativity takes courage: Hawaii’s foster children express themselves through works of art

    By Joanna Georgiev. April 24, 2014 - 10:27 am

Heart Article - Joanna

Months worth of planning and preparation went into the HeART workshop for foster children that MA COM students at Hawaii Pacific University prepared.

Working closely with Family Programs Hawaii, HPU students managed to secure a venue, sponsors for food and take home gifts, as well as provided the hands to help on the day of the event earlier this month.

This year was the 2nd annual HeART of Our Keiki event. Faculty AnnMarie Manzulli has involved her classes with Family Programs Hawaii for almost 4 years now.

The workshop offers children in the foster care system a learning experience and opportunity to create works of art. The intent of the event is to give foster children a chance to voice themselves though various art forms.

Honolulu Museum of Art provided all the necessary tools for the children to create their own masterpiece.

Honolulu Museum of Art providing all the necessary tools for the children to create their own masterpiece.

“Our goal is that every child in Hawaii has the opportunity and resources to reach his or her full potential, especially children who are in or may become involved in foster care,” said Connie Sizemore, Development Director of FPH. She continued with, “this event was a wonderful way to give the youth a voice to express themselves.”

The Honolulu Museum of Art School provided the venue and two passionate art teachers to facilitate the workshop. “I appreciate that the youth all come from different places and upbringings, all these kids have such different personalities and it reflects in their art,” said artist Eric Beyer.

“It’s helpful to take the kids places and do different things,” explained one foster parent, “this event allows the children to get creative.” For many of these children it’s their first time to the museum and their first time to use the art tools that were provided.

The workshop provides a voice for children to express their abuse, neglect or traumatization that they’ve been through. “Everything you see on paper is about their story and that’s what they will share through their artwork,” said volunteer coordinator Vince Abramo.

"This is a portrait of someone I want to be, someone who succeeds in life. The wind is in his face and he's taking it all in, the life he wants and strives for to make a reality. You need to believe in yourself and have confidence."

“This is a portrait of someone I want to be, someone who succeeds in life. The wind is in his face and he’s taking it all in, the life he wants and strives for to make a reality. You need to believe in yourself and have confidence.”

A little girl shared a beautiful drawing with three little birds. She explained to one of the HPU grad students Ulrike Kloeditz, that the little bird was her and it was a happy family. In a small speech bubble coming out from the father flamingo she wrote, “we promise to never hit you again.”

Walking back from the museum tour to take the kids to the school and begin painting, Kloeditz spoke with a boy who shared with her that his mother tried to kill him and the police took him away from her. While Kloeditz stood on the crosswalk speechless and in shock, the girl with the flamingo painting comforted the boy by saying “but now everything is good, because your new parents love you.”

Erin Fox , another MA COM student realized how important it is for there to be avenues for children to play and learn in a safe environment. Erin commented at the end of the event that “the workshop allowed children to express and share their feelings through art and connect with others who are just like them.”

Tobias Becker also in the Event Planning and Promotion class at HPU, took the role as client liaison. He was touched by the workshop and felt it a beneficial career experience, “I learned the importance of staying flexible to keep the event running smoothly, which is a valuable skill to learn for any profession.”

If you would like to get involved and join family programs in their mission to help kids, please visit: familyprogramshawaii.org

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"The City of Darkness and City of Light" - When I look in the mirror, I see all the bad, but I know there is good too. Doubt will catapult you into the City of Darkness. The road to the City of Darkness is crumbling, and in order to cross to the City of Light, you need faith and a heart.

The City of Darkness and City of Light – “When I look in the mirror, I see all the bad, but I know there is good too. Doubt will catapult you into the City of Darkness. The road to the City of Darkness is crumbling, and in order to cross to the City of Light, you need faith and a heart.”

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Photos by Joanna Georgiev and Caspar Kracht.

2 Responses to Creativity takes courage: Hawaii’s foster children express themselves through works of art

  1. AnnMarie Reply

    April 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Joanna,
    In this article, you’ve captured the beauty and shed light upon the beast of the need for programs like HeART of our Keiki. Mahalo for telling the story on behalf of your entire class.

  2. Connie Reply

    April 29, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Joanna,
    Wonderful article and project demonstrating HPU’s support of our communities social needs. You have caught the heart of the story and the children. Mahalo

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